Marvin Minsky is Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research has led to many advances in artificial intelligence, psychology, physical optics, mathematics, and the theory of computation. He has made major contributions in the domains of computer graphics, knowledge and semantics, machine vision, and machine learning. He has also been involved with technologies for space exploration.
Professor Minsky is one of the pioneers of intelligence-based robotics. He designed and built some of the first mechanical hands with tactile sensors, visual scanners, and their software and interfaces. In 1951 he built the first neural-network learning machine. With John McCarthy he founded the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in 1959. He has written seminal papers in the fields of artificial intelligence, perception, and language. His book The Society of Mind contains hundreds of ideas about the mind, many of which he has further developed in this book.
Black holes. DNA. The Large Hadron Collider. Ever had that sneaking feeling that you are missing out on some truly spectacular science?
You do? Well, fear not, for help is at hand.
Ben Miller was working on his Physics PhD at Cambridge when he accidentally became a comedian. But first love runs deep, and he has returned to his roots to share with you all his favourite bits of science. This is the stuff you really need to know, not only because it matters but because it will quite simply amaze and delight you.
'Let me show you another, perhaps less familiar side of Science; her beauty, her seductiveness and her passion. And let's do it quickly, while Maths isn't looking'
'This book makes climate change actually seem interesting. Not just important - it's obviously important - but interesting. As a result I bought lots of other books about climate change, something I now regret'
Ben Miller is, like you, a mutant ape living through an Ice Age on a ball of molten iron, orbiting a supermassive black hole. He is also an actor, comedian and approximately one half of Armstrong & Miller. He's presented a BBC Horizon documentary on temperature and a Radio 4 series about the history of particle physics, and has written a science column for The Times. He is slowly coming to terms with the idea that he may never be an astronaut.
Scientific theory, more often than not, is born of bold assumption, disparate bits of unconnected evidence, and educated leaps of faith. Some of the most potent beliefs among brilliant minds are based on supposition alone -- yet that is enough to push those minds toward making the theory viable.
Eminent cultural impresario, editor, and publisher of Edge (www.edge.org), John Brockman asked a group of leading scientists and thinkers to answer the question: What do you believe to be true even though you cannot prove it? This book brings together the very best answers from the most distinguished contributors.
Thought-provoking and hugely compelling, this collection of bite-size thought-experiments is a fascinating insight into the instinctive beliefs of some of the most brilliant minds today.
Marvin Minsky was a pioneering researcher in artificial intelligence whose work led to both theoretical and practical advances. His work was motivated not only by technological advancement but also by the desire to understand the workings of our own minds. Minsky's insights about the mind provide fresh perspectives on education and how children learn. This book collects for the first time six essays by Minsky on children, learning, and the potential of computers in school to enrich children's development. In these essays Minsky discusses the shortcomings of conventional education (particularly in mathematics) and considers alternative approaches; reflects on the role of mentors; describes higher-level strategies for thinking across domains; and suggests projects for children to pursue. Each essay is paired with commentary by one of Minsky's former colleagues or students, which identifies Minsky's key ideas and connects his writings to current research. Minsky once observed that in traditional teaching, “instead of promoting inventiveness, we focus on preventing mistakes.” These essays offer Minsky's unique insights into how education can foster inventiveness.
Hal Abelson, Walter Bender, Alan Kay, Margaret Minsky, Brian Silverman, Gary Stager, Mike Travers, Patrick Henry Winston
Reissue of the 1988 Expanded Edition with a new foreword by Léon Bottou
In 1969, ten years after the discovery of the perceptron—which showed that a machine could be taught to perform certain tasks using examples—Marvin Minsky and Seymour Papert published Perceptrons, their analysis of the computational capabilities of perceptrons for specific tasks. As Léon Bottou writes in his foreword to this edition, “Their rigorous work and brilliant technique does not make the perceptron look very good.” Perhaps as a result, research turned away from the perceptron. Then the pendulum swung back, and machine learning became the fastest-growing field in computer science. Minsky and Papert's insistence on its theoretical foundations is newly relevant.
Perceptrons—the first systematic study of parallelism in computation—marked a historic turn in artificial intelligence, returning to the idea that intelligence might emerge from the activity of networks of neuron-like entities. Minsky and Papert provided mathematical analysis that showed the limitations of a class of computing machines that could be considered as models of the brain. Minsky and Papert added a new chapter in 1987 in which they discuss the state of parallel computers, and note a central theoretical challenge: reaching a deeper understanding of how “objects” or “agents” with individuality can emerge in a network. Progress in this area would link connectionism with what the authors have called “society theories of mind.”